Rap may sometimes be seen as purely a hardcore, machismo, “hit it and quit it” art form, but its humbler side is often overlooked. Outside listeners tend to forget that rap didn’t begin with Beamers, Benzes, or Bentleys, or champagne flowing from the sky. Rather it began with normal guys on the street with a boombox and a beat. During that time, on corners or stoops, there would likely be a lovely lady passing their way. Guy sees girl and tries to get her attention. Girl looks his way, laughs and continues to walk along. Come on ladies, tell me that isn’t familiar? These were the days when LL Cool J just needed love, and a Bronx boy engaged in friendly banter with a few fly girls. Yup – we’re talking about Positive K.
If there was ever an underappreciated ladies’ man in the midst of early 90s rap, look no further than Darryl Gibson (Positive K). You might remember him from the playful banter and sing song lyrics of 1992’s “I Gotta Man.” Much like Slick Rick and Grand Puba, Positive K utilized storytelling with easy-to-follow flow that allowed listeners to get consumed by the story. Through this he gained followers while producing hits.
Working with many early rap stars, K began with a feature on 1986’s Fast Money showcase CD. Think of it as a cooler Now That’s What I Call Music, but corny pop stars would be replaced with underground rappers. Though the label that put out the showcase was short lived, K was not overlooked. He was picked up by soon to be X-Clan (that’s a group, not a cult) founder Lumumba Carson on First Priority Music. During that time he cultivated his skills, appearing on many under-the-radar tracks like Brand Nubian’s “One For All,” his own Big Daddy Kane-produced single “Nightshifter” and MC Lyte’s “I’m Not Havin’ It.” The format used for MC Lyte’s single would prove to be a recipe for gold when K released the song he is best known for: “I Gotta Man.”
Who’s Havin’ It?
With its funny lyrics and Positive K’s persistence for the opposite sex, “I Gotta Man” is hard to not love. The hit sampled some classic records. A Taste of Honey’s “Rescue Me” and “Spread Love” by Take 6 provided the song’s signature opening notes; you also hear Junior’s guitar solo from “Mama Used to Say” and the trumpets are from Crash Crew’s “High Powered Rap.” K remained in hip-hop’s consciousness when Jermain Dupri remixed Chante Moore’s “Chante’s Got a Man.” What that song is probably most known for is the bad Mama Jamma who tests Positive K’s “mack” abilities. So who, exactly, is the girl behind the voice? (TRIVIA ALERT!) The female MC is none other than… Positive K himself! Setting the pitch high, Positive K played a little audio dress-up in order to achieve the streetwise female voice.
I guarantee “I Gotta Man”‘s fun spirit, street-smart attitude and catchy hook will keep you pressing repeat. It’s refreshing to listen to because many ladies in rap songs are either moaning or just repeating everything the man has to say. Positive K flipped that – way before many of these current rappers were old enough to drive cars – and allowed women to let guys know that it’ll take more than a smile and a cheesy pick-up line to get a “girl like this.”
Can You Now Imagine The Ladies Actually Being Positive K?
“I Gotta Man” wasn’t the only single Positive K released. After the hit, he produced the three more singles off his debut album The Skills Dat Pay Da Bills. There was the aforementioned “Nightshift,” “Ain’t No Crime” and “Carhoppers” (which used the same formula as “I Gotta Man”). But as Gangsta rap’s star began to rise, Positive K’s began to dim. Throughout the years, he has stayed busy. Still on the success of his debut album, Positive K appeared on the Beavis and Butthead Experience CD with the song Come to Butthead. The track is hidden on the cd – check your dusty CD shelves for that one! He also still operates his own label, Creative Control – not to be confused with the later-founded media company of the same name. Most recently he began his comedy career, and a few years ago he appeared on Nas’ nostalgic 90s remix Where Are They Now.
Check out these old school tracks from Positive K:
Check This Remix
Notice The Same Formula?
Big Daddy Kane Produced This Track:
For more information on Positive K, visit his website here
Follow him on Twitter: @positivek1
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